March 9th, 1918.
My Dear Mother:
Although I have a dozen or more letters to answer, I'll write to you first. When I arrived home last night I found six letters for me - two from you dated the 2nd and 12th of Feb., one from Nellie, one from Aunt Lizzie and a couple from France. Today's mail brought me eight more including another from Nellie and one from Aunt Janet. So you can see I have some work ahead of me for a few days.
I wrote you from London on Friday morning so will continue from there. I certainly had a delightful little holiday and it's so nice to get away from camp life for a few days and enjoy oneself thoroughly. On Thurs. afternoon and evening I went to the theatre and then yesterday afternoon we went to see a musical comedy "Chu Chin Chou" which was, I think, the finest thing of it's kind I've ever seen. I'm not musical enough to thoroughly appreciate the fine music but the staging, scenery and acting were superb. This was [a] big week in London, Tank week. At the theatre on Thursday a speaker, in urging forward the Loan and emphasizing the need of greater effort and greater sacrifices, closed a nice little speech with a fine motto, "Back up, Pay up and Shut up". The last with reference to the pessimists who are continually finding fault and berating those in charge of affairs and also referring to those who write to friends in the trenches telling of their troubles and adverse conditions at home. I certainly agree. I try to be cheerful myself and I know that we all like to get cheerful letters. We all have enough brains to realize and sufficient eyesight to comprehend what conditions really are so when writing let's recount the things and incidents that will tend to make everyone more optimistic, more cheerful and more confident.
Then on Thurs night I had another experience, an air raid, and one of the worst yet. We were walking to the Club about 11:45 at night when the "Take Cover" was sounded and the big guns which put up a barrage around the city started to boom. They certainly make a terrible noise. The night was clear, stars bright but no moon which made a raid rather unexpected for up to date every raid has taken place on a moonlight evening or night. On the street most of the people hastened to cover in the tubes or underground railway and other places which are marked out. The buses discharged their passengers as quickly as possible and soon you could hear the British machines which were scouting around over the city outskirts. I or we didn't hurry as I thought it couldn't be very serious. When we got to the Club we found everyone turned out of bed and all hiding in the cellar under the Cathedral which is right by. Most of us stayed out to see what happened. The guns continued to fire practically without intermission - searchlights played all over the sky and the hum of the engines could be heard. After about half an hour an engine, apparently more powerful than the others could be heard. It was the Super-Gotha - two of which got thru the defenders and dropped bombs on the outskirts. The firing continued 'till shortly after one o'clock and then we had to stay 'till one hour later when then "all-clear" was given by "Boy Scouts" with bugles racing around the principle streets. The casualties totalled eleven killed and some forty injured. Warnings were given again yesterday but I guess the Gothas failed to get through as this morning's papers tell of no raid.
Back in camp we find all excitement. Drafts are going out in big numbers and our turn will come shortly. This morning we were issued with our gas masks which we carry at the front and to test them we all passed thru a line (?) gas...[text missing-censored?]